Socialist Standard September 2021 ”Sci-Fi, Utopias and Socialism”

February 2024 Forums Socialist Standard Feedback Socialist Standard September 2021 ”Sci-Fi, Utopias and Socialism”

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  • #224520
    ZJW
    Participant

    In tangential relation to ‘Sci-Fi, Utopias and Socialism’ in the September 2021 SS, see my three postings under China Mieville’s sloppy ’50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Works Every Socialist Should Read’ (which jondwhite somehow felt compelled to post) at https://libcom.org/library/50-sci-fi-fantasy-works-every-socialist-should-read-china-mieville

    Keywords: the novels ‘Salt’; ‘Wage Slave’s Escape’; ‘Voyage from Yesteryear’; ‘Walkaway’; ‘Equality’ (Bellamy’s always ignored *second*’, which was praised by Kropotkin.)

    (I also mention, and link to, Bellamy’s review of News from Nowhere.)

    Leon – considering the amount of science-fiction you say you read, how is it you are able to make no mention of ‘Voyage from Yesteryear’ and its socialist society?

    #225072
    schekn_itrch
    Participant

    Voyage from Yesteryear is indeed a very notable mention, and I am grateful for the pointer. A really nice read with lots to think about. In fact, I found quite a lot of similarities between the Noon Universe and Chiron. The idea that you can only overcome the inertia of the continuity of generations by separating children from their parents while they grow up was developed in the Strugatsky bothers’ book “The Ugly Swans”. I was quite bemused reading about how chironians have multiple children though – leaving the whole “how does a robot raise a healthy baby” thing aside – it seems that the author has never had to seriously deal with either pregnancy (obviously) or childcare.
    Generally, my biggest criticism of the majority of sci-fi is that authors fail to depict people and the general social organisation coherently different. In most cases, it is people’s character that are not presented as “believable”, and here ‘Voyage from Yesteryear’ really shines – people are shown quite different and I can imagine them. In contrast, the whole organisation of society was not thought through well: I would think that people who are interested in doing things well and showing off would have a different organisation of cafes and pubs, for instance. Here it seems that the author just slides into the “normal” Western reality.
    So, ZJW, let me ask you in turn – how come you are able to make no mention of Strugatsky brothers in your comment? 😀

    #225135
    ZJW
    Participant

    schekn_itrch:

    1)’In contrast, the whole organisation of society was not thought through well: I would think that people who are interested in doing things well and showing off would have a different organisation of cafes and pubs, for instance.’

    Hmm, probably so, yes, good point.

    2) ‘how come you are able to make no mention of Strugatsky brothers in your comment?’

    Good question. Books I mention in my comments on that libcom page are books I’ve personally read. I’ve never read anything by the Strugatskys, so didn’t mention them. (Or Yefromov — whom sshenfield mentions — either.) …. Just now, I have added an additional comment there on libcom calling attention to the Leon/SS page/Strugatsky&Yefromov.

    (I did give Noon Universe a try a few months ago, but owing to certain defects of mine as a reader of fiction (including impatience), in conjunction with the particular structure of that book (a bit like a series of not too connected short stories, it seemed), I didn’t get very far. That’s no reflection on the worthiness of the book of course.)

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by ZJW.
    #243701
    ZJW
    Participant

    Does Leon regularly read this forum? If not, someone will please call his attention to what appears under the asterisks (which I have already posted under China Miéville’s not too good list of ’50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Works Every Socialist Should Read’ ( https://shorturl.at/izEHU ) .

    I also call to his attention the book (review of which, actually) already linked to in post-#243351 : Review: “Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune 2052-2072” by M.E. O’Brien and Eman Abdelhadi

    *************

    According to the Encyclopedia of Science-Fiction, James Cooke Brown wrote a ‘sf novel, ‘The Troika Incident: A Tetralogue in Two Parts’ (1970), [in which] astronauts from the USA, France and the USSR are shot forward by a century. There they discover a Utopia – built on lines that combine Edward Bellamy and William Morris, […]’

    Readers of this forum with an interest in planned languages will know James Cooke Brown as the inventor of Loglan, (whose uglier successor is Lojban). As for use of this language in his novel, according to another source: ‘ “In the story, the futuristic society uses a language called Panlan. But the blurb on the book jacket called it Loglan”, says an associate’s reminiscence about him.’

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by ZJW.
    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by ZJW.
    #243746
    schekn_itrch
    Participant

    Yes I do read the forum regularly even though I don’t often have time to contribute. Thank you for the suggestion, I’ll definitely give “Everything for Everyone” a try, I have never heard of this author before!

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